AAI Injects Africa Into U.S Presidential Race

By Ajong Mbapndah L

AAI President Amini Kajunju
AAI President Amini Kajunju

“Africa has typically not been a partisan issue when it comes to U.S Presidential politics,” said Ambassador Herman Cohen  in his opening statement at a Rayburn House Forum on Setting U.S-Africa Policy for the next Administration organized by the Africa-America Institute.

The statement from Cohen,  representing the Kasich  campaign,summed up the discussions animated by representatives  of candidates from both the Democratic and Republican parties still in the race.

“I can be very brief with Senator Cruz’s African Policy,” said his representative Michael Ledeen, before declaring in dramatic fashion that “he doesn’t have one.”

From security challenges , to aid, immigration, trade and investment, lifting sanctions on Zimbabwe, human rights and democracy, the representatives all held  views that were similar.

When moderator Carol Pineau asked if the presentations from the representatives had swayed anyone in the huge audience at the Rayburn  House, the answer was an emphatic no. When the representatives were asked if their candidates will visit Africa on their first term if elected as next President, they all answered yes. Asked on prospects of continuing with the USA-Africa Leaders Summit initiated by President Obama, all the representatives of the candidates were for a continuation.

Representing the candidates were Wala Blegay for Bernie Sanders, Herman Cohen for John Kasich, Michelle Gavin for Hillary Clinton, J.D,Gordon for Donald Trump and Michael Ledeen for the Ted Cruz Campaign.

The discussions were part of the conversations on Africa series of the AAI under the theme Setting U.S –Africa Policy for the Next Administration.Other topics of discussion at the forum included remaining priorities for Africa in the 114th Congress,the Obama Administration’s Approach to promoting Education in Africa, and a fires side chat on best practices for U.S Engagement in Africa with former U.S Envoy to the African Union Reuben Brigety and Amini Kajunju,President and CEO of the Africa Institute.


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One Comment

  1. As it’s always the case Africa is a ready made cloth to wear, use and abuse… Determined from the outside more than it can enact ways to be dealing with…

    The AGOA is one of the instruments at our disposal but without concerted strategies to met such resourceful tool, central to US trade system… No African country so far has enacted a Comprehensive Agoa Strategy leading to a regional platform that can benefit SME or SMI to adjust and take advantage of such conjunctural and preferrential treatments with our shallow economic infrastructure still unfit with world trade basics of compliance, financing mechanism and CSR standards…

    AGOA imports – exclusively dominated by raw materials -were $4.4 billion, decreasing by 10% compared to 2013. On another note, AGOA is not going to be here forever, at some point we will soon find ourselves in same footing of equality with other countries in Asia, Europe or elsewhere, coming to turn our SMEs and SMIs into their raw materials providers and simply plug in their value added expertise and reap big time money and credence within the world markets. Such scenario will be truning us (again) into the biggest looser of the next economy for the longest time ever…

    Africa… Leaders of Africa should I say, WAKE THE F… Up!

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